The last time I interviewed for a nurse practitioner position, I was hired on the spot. I recall I was asked just one or two questions, handed over my resume, and bam! I was hired. My rapid hiring surprised me given my lack of experience at the time. When I left the interview and recounted the story to family members working in the business world they found it highly amusing.
My family members accustomed to working as business owners or as employees in large corporations couldn't believe I'd simply been hired on the spot. But, I've come to learn that this is the way things often work when it comes to the hiring of nurse practitioners. In medicine, we all have a predetermined job title, so there's less back and forth when it comes to securing a new position. And, most of us are more comfortable caring for patients than doing managerial tasks.
While on the surface, the straightforward job interview process when it comes to nurse practitioners seems ideal, perhaps this is why so many of us land in positions where we are unhappy, or jobs where more or less of us is required than we expected. Although our job description is marked more by our schooling and less by the company we work for, due process is important in choosing a job both on the side of the employer and candidate. This way you can make sure your next nurse practitioner position is a good fit.
You must turn the tables at the end of every job interview by asking a few questions of your own. Here are seven questions to consider asking your prospective employer.
1. How do you evaluate success in this position? What are some things past nurse practitioners here have done to help them succeed?
This question gets down to the core of what is important to the clinic or hospital where you are applying. It helps you understand what the expectations of the job will be and whether you have the skill set to meet them, so listen up. Many nurse practitioners I talk to express frustration that medicine can be "all about the numbers". If your interviewer responds to this question by saying "our last NP saw 50 patients a day, that's what made him successful", then you know you that this prospective clinic or hospital setting might be a bit of a patient-mill. If your response is more along the lines of "we measure success by revenue generated" you can expect to be under pressure to bill, bill, bill if offered the position in question.
The response you receive when asking how a potential employer measures success will give you a clue as to what your day to day nurse practitioner job will look like working for that potential employer. It also gives you valuable insight as to how you can thrive if offered the job.
2. Am I expected to be a mentor? Will I be mentored myself?
Sometimes, new nurse practitioner graduates find themselves in a precarious position. They are expected to be leaders in the clinic or hospital, giving direction to nurses and medical techs, but still have many questions themselves. Maybe they are left alone in the clinic setting, wishing for more clinical advice to help them continue to grow. Getting an idea of how much leadership you will be expected to give as well as how much support you will receive helps you gauges if the position is ideal given your level of experience and your personal preference.
3. Why is the current nurse practitioner leaving the position?
Getting an idea as to why current employees are leaving a company gives you further insight into the organization's culture. Could the prior NP not keep up with the demands of a busy clinic? This alerts you to the fact that you could see some chaotic days in this particular job. Or, perhaps he/she was a new grad and didn't feel the current setting offered enough support to less experienced NPs. If this is the case, think twice about accepting the position if you, too, have new grad status.
Take the response to this question with a grain of salt, of course. Everyone is different and the decision to leave a company is laden with personal preferences and circumstances in addition to the characteristics of the job itself.
4. What challenges do you see your company facing over the next year?
This question demonstrates that you aren't only thinking about the narrow scope of your role as a nurse practitioner, but also the broader scope of the success of the company as a whole. This kind of thinking is rare among healthcare providers and will impress interviewers. It also (hint, hint), alerts you to what challenges and frustrations you might face as an employee should you accept the position.
5. What challenges do you see the person accepting this role facing in the short and long term?
Along the same lines of the previous question, getting a heads-up to what frustrations you may experience in a given job is important. Every position has drawbacks, so even if this seems like the ideal job, the response you receive gives you an all-important reality check. It helps you determine if the position is a good fit.
The answer you get could also give you an extra chance to shine. If, for example, your interviewer predicts that the implementation of a new Electronic Medical Records system could spell doomsday for staffers, you may mention your tech savvy and prior EMR experience.
6. What have you enjoyed most about working here?
Asking your interviewer about him/herself gives the opportunity for some back-and-forth about how you share similar values or vision. It gives you the chance to show you could be a good fit for the job within a natural conversation. If your interviewer struggles to come up with something he/she likes about working for the company, you probably aren't going to find anything positive about working there either.
7. Now that you know my qualifications, do you have any concerns about my ability to be successful in this position?
Be open to whatever response you get here. Vulnerability and the willingness to be coached and work on weaknesses is important. It takes a confident person to admit to shortcomings and doing so can actually give you an edge in the interview process. If you aren't offered the position, understanding why a prospective employer hedged helps you address these concerns in future interviews.
Remember, technically you are the one being interviewed here, so don't turn your next job interview into the grand inquisition. Ask the questions to which you are most eager to get answers. Don't forget to take notes. Even if you've got your prospective employers responses are locked squarely away in your memory, a little note taking here and there gives off the impression that you are prepared and engaged.
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Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions and Answers
When you prepare for a professional interview, you should do a significant amount of research about your prospective employer. Understand what the company is looking for in a prime candidate. This will help you hone in on relevant information and possible interview questions. You don’t want to prepare for a normal hospital position and find that you will have emergency response responsibilities. Make sure you do some research before you proceed.
Nurse practitioners work very closely with patients and often without supervision. Your exact responsibilities and level of care will vary depending on the employer. As such, your interview questions will likely reflect the details of your prospective job duties. Before you step into the interview room, arm yourself with an arsenal of anecdotes that relate to the tasks you might be expected to preform in the future.
Even though you might not be able to predict every question you will encounter, you can count on a few standard industry inquires. Nurse practitioner interview questions and answers can be found on the Internet along with other industry related information. Compile a list of relevant questions and practice answering them. You can even set up a mock interview with friends and family serving as interviewers.
The following are among the most common nurse practitioner interview questions and answers. Use these as a starting point for your interview preparation.
· Explain how failure has helped you become a better professional.
When you answer this request, do not bring up a dramatic or massive failure from your past. Choose a lesser failure instead. Show what you learned from it and how you’ve become a better professional. With nurse practitioner interview questions and answers, you want to remain positive at all times.
- Why should the company hire you?
If you wrote down a list of your best professional qualities as you prepared for the interview, this is a great time to draw upon that information. Do not just respond with, “I think I am the best candidate.” Show why you hold this belief and focus on what sets you apart.
· Give an example of a time when you disagreed with a doctor or nurse. How did you handle the situation?
It is normal to have occasional disagreements in the work place, but it is important for the hiring manager to understand how you handle such situations. You should focus on your ability to compromise and choose anecdotes that display this trait.
When you look over these nurse practitioner interview questions and answers, it is important that you paint yourself as a quality candidate who is ready to acclimate to the company’s existing work environment.
Develop an Answer Method
When begin to form responses to nurse practitioner interview questions and answers, try writing down your answers. Many individuals find they can organize thoughts more efficiently when they write them down first. You don’t want to memorize your responses, but if you record them by hand, you will likely easily recall the most important elements of a good answer.
For the questions you can’t anticipate, consider learning the STAR or SAR methods of answering questions. These structures give you a flexible framework that can be applied to a wide variety of inquiries. They are particularly useful when you face behavioral questions. When you encounter a question that catches you off guard, you can construct a great answer using your existing knowledge with a response method.
To make the most of your interview, practice nurse practitioner interview questions and answers and get feed back when you can. Do not neglect your pre interview research and if possible, consult with a current company employee. Remember to stay positive throughout the interview and be as professional as you can.